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Through Unknown, students will learn about HeLa cells and the story of Henrietta Lacks. Students will also dive into the ethics behind using humans in research, patient rights, and informed consent. Students will utilize their artistic skills by completing both a sketchnoting activity as well as a self-portrait of either themselves or Henrietta Lacks. Unknown also offers an extension activity on editorial cartoons. 

The below resources are from last year. Updated materials for the 2021-22 school year will be added in advance of the initiative.

Teacher Resources

The semi-structured curriculum below is ready to be customized by teachers.  We have provided a 6-day curriculum, of 60-minute lessons.  Adjusting to meet your students' needs is strongly encouraged.

Lesson plans

Please note: Slides are in google format, but can be downloaded in .ppt. All slides for days 1-8 are included here. All materials or handouts referenced are linked to in the individual google slides or teacher notes accompanying the slides.

To download the slides as Microsoft PPT, click here.

View live on Thursday February 25th at 3:00 pm EST

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2021 Calendar

Please note, the lesson days can be customized to best fit your school schedule.

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1st Place

Portrait of Henrietta Lacks

by C.P.

RFK South Hadley (MA)

1st Place


by E.D.

Datema House (MO)

Honorable Mention


by R.R.